Interview with Director and Photographer Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson is a photographer and director based in Brooklyn, NY. If you look at the cover of the April edition of Billboard, that's Eric's work. Eric has a truly inspirational story and I have been blessed to see it up close. We caught up with Eric for an interview to explore his story.
1. You made a pretty bold move years ago from commercial real estate to photography back in 2006. Can you explain how that went down?
Sure thing. While it may appear bold in hindsight, it was anything but that at the time. Back in 2005, my grandfather was on a pretty steep downward slope... his health slipping away, it was the first time I really felt the weight of death and life and story in a person close to me. He'd always had these incredible stories about growing up on the streets of Dallas, essentially a street kid. Married my grandmother when they were only 16... crazy stuff. I started looking at my own life and thinking about my own (hypothetical) grandchildren and decided I wanted to move to New York for a year or two, if nothing else but to throw a curveball into my story. My dad had bought me a camera a few years prior and I'd found a creative outlet I really understood and loved. Once I moved and had been working in finance and real estate for only a couple months, I realized this was certainly not what God had brought me here to pursue. Through many prayerful mornings at this terrible bagel shop below our office, I finally understood that notion, and dove into photography head first. At the time I had nothing to lose, and a heavy burden that this office job was not why I was here.
2. How did your relationship with Jesus affect your move to photography?
During those mornings at the bagel shop, I was going through a book by Erwin McManus (I believe) about following God's lead and being bold in the story He calls us to live. I had always secretly thought people "feeling called" to things was a bit of a hoax, but after that season, knew otherwise. After the leap, there were certainly days of serious doubt and wandering, but the days of confirmation and truth kept me going. It was a special time for sure and I can remember as clear as day moments sitting around Manhattan feeling the presence of God, being encouraged and determined to keep pushing forward.
3. While work is a gift from God, we know that in Genesis 3 work has been marred and broken. While your success and career arc has been nothing short of miraculous, how has your faith helped you persevere in times of difficulty in your profession?
I think more than anything, my upbringing and faith has helped me maintain a pretty decent sense of perspective. It's a word I use often and try to keep at the forefront of my life, especially in this crazy city. Knowing that we're a) part of a bigger story and b) not ultimately defined by any of the "work" we're doing helped keep me from jumping ship during slow times, and even keel during the good times. If we're lucky, it's a long haul. The jobs we work will be amazing and difficult and hopeful and trying... but with perspective, especially rooted in our faith, it can make it all much more palpable. And by no means do I mean to imply that I have it down pat... easy to say, harder to live by!
4. What is next for you professionally?
You've heard of the 10,000 hour principle? It's obviously not meant to be taken literally, but I've found it to be true. It takes TIME to do anything well, and I feel like I'm just now getting to a point where I respect my own work. It's been a really great couple of years and we get to work with some fascinating people but I feel like it's still the first chapter of what, God-willing, will be a lifelong journey. For now, I just try to get better at what I'm doing every week, every project. Whether that will pay off monetarily or career-wise is to be seen, but I suppose continually striving to be better will pay off regardless. There's always room for improvement, whether it's the images we're making, the way we treat our peers or the work ethic when nobody is around. One day at a time.
Eric Anderson is a Brooklyn, NY based photographer and director. Hearing a clear call from God, in 2006 Eric left his job in commercial real estate in Dallas and moved to New York City to start a career in photography. Things have gone well, to say the least. As a director and photographer, Eric has worked with the likes of John Legend, The Lone Bellow, Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris, and Carlos Santana. You can find out more about Eric and his work at www.ericryananderson.com.